Why Did Ringo Take The Beatles Breakup Better Than the Others?

After The Beatles breakup, everyone had a chance to see how each member would react. With the debut Paul McCartney album, most saw an isolated man trying to work his way through it via music. (Paul said he was quite depressed during that period.)

For his part, John Lennon underwent “primal scream” therapy for close to four months. While that experience had to be unpleasant, he came out of it with a briliant solo album.

Following years of working in their shadow, George Harrison’s No. 1 album (late 1970) launched his successful solo career. The next year, he organized a benefit concert for Bangladesh. George was quietly going about his business — and doing so in style.

But by comparison, Ringo Starr was having an absolute blast. After getting his feet wet in the movies during the Beatles’ last years, he knocked off two other films in 1971. Meanwhile, he was making recordings of his own, directed a T. Rex concert film, and started a design company.

Ringo made the most of his Hollywood and music biz connections.

Actors Agneta Eckemyr and Ringo Starr in a scene from the film ‘Blindman’, 1971. | Stanley Bielecki Movie Collection/Getty Images

By April ’70, that fateful month of the Beatles’ demise, Ringo already knew his way around a film set. In ’68, he’d appeared in Candy with an all-star cast (including Richard Burton and Marlon Brando). The following year, he had a bigger role in The Magic Christian alongside Peter Sellers.

Whoever met him seemed to think Ringo was a cool guy. When he walked out on the Beatles during the recording of The White Album, it was Sellers who loaned Ringo his yacht to take out around Sardinia. So it was no surprise he kept rolling with more acting gigs in ’71.

First came Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels, followed by a spaghetti western called Blindman. Meanwhile, he took the time to start a design company and record with old bandmates John and George.

By 1972, he was ready to take some available Apple money and use it to shoot a film about T. Rex. If you’ve caught any of that picture, you know how much fun everyone had making it.

Ringo’s directorial debut with ‘Born to Boogie’

Elton John, Marc Bolan, Ringo Starr, and Mickey Finn attend the UK premiere of the concert film ‘Born To Boogie’ in London, 14th December 1972. | Michael Putland/Getty Images

While the thread has been lost over the years, the biggest band in England circa 1971 was T. Rex, the vehicle for Marc Bolan, yet another pal of Ringo’s. Somehow, the two of them decided to shoot a film of the band in concert with some oddball scenes thrown in the middle.

The result, Born to Boogie, is pure joy for any fan of glam rock. At one point, you have Bolan jamming in a studio with Ringo on a second drum kit and Elton John himself wailing on piano.

The scenes Ringo shot with Bolan revealed someone very comfortable in front of the camera (and with himself). As Bolan flubs lines and breaks up laughing, Ringo patiently — and professionally — tries to keep it together.

When it came time for his own full solo album, Ringo called on Bolan, Lennon, and George Harrison to help out. Guess what? They all came and pitched in (as did McCartney).

John Lennon even kicked in a great tune for Ringo (“I’m the Greatest”). It showed the star of the show having as much fun as he appeared to be.

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